Report said that the United Nations has accused the North Korean state of stealing $281 million worth of crypto from an exchange during September 2020.
It has been reported that the findings from a “confidential report” authored by independent sanctions monitors for UN Security Council members “strongly suggests” links between the hack’s perpetrators and the North Korean regime.
The report stated:
“Preliminary analysis, based on the attack vectors and subsequent efforts to launder the illicit proceeds, strongly suggests links to the DPRK.”
However, the UN report accuses North Korea of using the stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in violation of international sanctions.
It has been analyzed that crypto data firm Whale Alert’s Frank van Weert speculated the report must be referring to the September 2020 KuCoin hack, despite the report containing few concrete details surrounding the victimized exchange. Chainalysis estimated losses from the KuCoin hack at $275 million. The incident saw swift reactions from Tether and major crypto exchanges to quickly freeze crypto assets associated with the attack by preventing around 22% of breached funds from being stolen.
KuCoin said that it has since recovered 80% of the stolen funds.
Is North Korea using crypto hacks to fund weapons programs? A UN report suggests this could be a possibility. https://t.co/LKVbP8aC5X — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) February 10, 2021
The UN report cites asserts the attackers breached the exchange by exploiting the smart contracts of DeFi protocols:
“The attackers exploited ‘DeFi’ protocols — i.e., smart contracts that facilitate automated transactions.”
Likewise, the report estimates North Korea generated around $2 billion in total through “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks targeting banks and crypto exchanges as of 2019.
Thus, the UN notes that one member state believes North Korea stole $316.3M worth of digital assets between 2019 and November 2020, suggesting the regime was responsible for a further $36 million worth of crypto thefts on top of the KuCoin hack during that time.